Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Product Is You

Not much to say except that when I am sitting at work and am so angry that I want to punch a hole in my monitor and scream at people until the stupidity leaks out of their ears, Incendiary's excellent 2017 full-length Thousand Mile Stare is my preferred soundtrack.

Gotta say, beatdown hardcore with socially conscious lyrics is right up my alley. I could use a lot more of this.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Step-by-Step Guide in Creating a Forced I, Musical Genius Post

  1. Become so anxious about not having written something that you begin to think about it periodically throughout the day. The fear of underachievement must get to a point where it affects you daily before acting.
  2. Begin to brainstorm ideas for a post even though you are uninspired because of a lengthy period of artistic inactivity. Grasp at straws while trying to think of ideas that made sense and seemed interesting at one time.
  3. Start a draft of a post about one of your old ideas.
  4. Start and stop working on the draft several times and get distracted by things that are less important. 
  5. Become overwhelmed by the effort of balancing work and personal pursuits. Allow this to further affect your ability to write.
  6. Set aside a brief period of time on your day off to write. Do not allow yourself away from your computer during this time.
  7. Struggle to remember the original idea which inspired the post you are working on.
  8. Force out an opening paragraph. Re-write the opening sentence at least three times. Think of a big word to say and use semi-colons to make sure people think you’re smart!
  9. Start writing a second paragraph which barely connects to the first ideologically. Follow this second idea as the main idea of your post.
  10. Remember to mention that this is a post that you are “working through” for the sake of “getting back on the horse”.
  11. Try to make jokes.
  12. Remember that your conclusion should relate to the way you began the post. Write a Hail Mary sentence that does a bad job of connecting all the things you talked about.
  13. Avow that you will write another thing this week or at least work on a short story.
  14. Wait at least three weeks before starting the process again.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Let Me Show You What the Heart Looks Like When It's Hot

I'm in a weird spot where I need to write something, but also feel like I have nothing to say. My stomach is tied up in knots and I feel uneasy; it feels like an intense pressure building under my diaphragm or a blister that needs to be popped. From my own experience, the best way to relieve this pressure is put pen to page or fingertips to keys and work something out, but my mind is all over the place and I'm not sure where to start or what I even want to say.

When I haven't written a story, blog post, or song in a while, I get uneasy and anxious. For better or for worse, I think that the concern of "not writing enough" is constant in the back of my mind. On good days it inspires me to work through something; on bad days it makes me uncomfortable and nervous. Writing something, let alone something good, is much harder in the second scenario, so you get something misguided and full of semi-colons like this.

I also feel very uneasy because of how disappointed in the world I am, which has been a consistent downward spiral over the last five or so years. Like clockwork, something happens every three weeks that reminds how stupid and fucked up almost all of the world is. So stupid and fucked up that I'm very sceptical about how fixable any of it is.

The events in Charlottesville were awful and I don't really know how to broach the topic. When things like this happen, the absolute last thing that anybody needs to hear is another thinkpiece by a cis-white male. Any opinion I would give wouldn't be anywhere nearly as important as those given by people of colour, the left involved in protests, or those who live in the community. So even though I'm livid and frustrated and my anger doesn't seem to have a place to go, I believe that it's better for me to limit my takes, because all they would really do is pile more dirt onto more important opinions. For the sake of brevity, I will leave it to this:
  • If you think that violence against the far right will only provoke them further, I am interested as to what you think further than marching with torches, running over people with cars, and gang-beatings is.
  • If you even try to play devil's advocate on this issue at all, you are incredibly stupid. As much as political issues can be painted gray by the media, this one is cut and dry. One side is wrong, stupid and bad.
  • While I don't go out of my way to discuss my politics, I also don't make any big effort to hide them. Regardless, this still does leave my thoughts up in the air sometimes, as I'm aware that I can be pretty quiet. Just to put it out in the open, as socialist as you think I may be, I assure you that it's even further in actuality.
Being depressed about the state of the world and anxious about my much more minor personal feelings was a weird negative combination and it was making get really angry at almost everything. As much as it isn't mentally healthy to be in a constant state of ire, I think it's also important to really sit in your anger sometimes and work through what's pissing you off. You can't just shove anger away when very bad things are happening. Fascism and disgusting bigotry doesn't get solved by looking on the bright side.

In the eye of this anger storm, I was reminded of a few things I love: Rebecca, Pierre and Florence, my friends, pro wrestling (yes), and socially-conscious punk music. Jesse Michaels has been a constant source of inspiration and strength to me through my life and I was very pleased to find that his second band Common Rider put out an EP I didn't know about that was even better than all of their other stellar output. On top of that, the lyrics hit me in the exact right spot after the events last week.

While reading a (albeit very positive) review of the lyrics, someone described the lyrics as "overly ideal" and I thought that was so stupid. If advocating for resiliency in the face of oppression is stupid to you, you never really got what punk was about in the first place pal.

Always grow and learn, but never forget what made you mad to begin with. Stay pissed because the second you give up that, they'll fucking march all over you.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mary Devoured By Horses

Something unique to my generation, the first that grew up with the internet, is that we are the first to experience all of life's "milestones" in their open, digital form. It's strange to be the first generation of people that has its entire existence documented in a form that is more or less permanent.

One way that I am often reminded of this is when someone who I've completely lost touch with pops up on my Facebook feed. I guess the fact that we are still friends on Facebook sort of implies that we haven't completely lost touch. The world is weird. Whereas before you would maybe have some pictures of an old flame or roommate kicking around and would actually need to phone them or something to contact them, now you can just sort of creepily keep tabs on people and stay somewhat up-to-date on their life even though you never speak.

The person (really two people, they're a couple) who came up was someone who I went to art school with. I hung out with them pretty regularly during the last year of my undergrad and we got along pretty well, though we didn't have tonnes in common.

The last time that I saw this person was a chance encounter at a bar in Guelph while I was there with other friends. We were both happy to see each other and made the cursory small talk about our lives. She was there with her boyfriend, who she had started dating during our last year of school. She then told me that a house show the two of them had attended at my place had been their first date, which I didn't know. That made me happy. I thought that the show had been amazing to begin with, but was happy to realize that other people had important memories tied to the evening as well. And important enough that it was one of the things she told me within 5 minutes of speaking to me.

"That's what I was really trying to do. It's not about the music, it's about the love." I joked.

As I said, the couple came up in my Facebook feed today and they mentioned that they are only a few months out from getting married. It's crazy to think that I, who neither have spoken to in a few years now, played a role in their partnership, albeit a very, very small one.

It's also crazy to think about how many other times this has happened and we don't even know about.

It feels dumb to end this post with such an open-ended and vague statement, so I'll say that I saw Big Nothing at D-Beatstro this week and loved their set. I urge you to support both the band and the space they played at.